My wife has African desert tortoise. She purchased the little guy when he was small enough to fit in the palm of her hand in 2006. He was maybe 2.5” across. Now, he weights over 25 lbs and is 24” by 18”, and nothing stops him when he wants to walk.

She calls her pet Harley and he is a mess. Harley s spoiled rotten to the core. Most tortoises will try to bite you and are not that friendly, but not Harley. When she takes him to the vet and the doctor wants him to try to bite him so he can see inside his mouth, Harley has none of that. Harley is accustomed to people touching him, and he just sets there, looks at the vet and ignores him. Harley has human contact every day, and it does not bother him. The vets at Texas AM University Veterinarian School are amazed with Harley, and when he is in town, everyone drops by to see him.

We have friends in Florida that have tortoises for pets. They place the food out for them, and they eat whole heads of lettuces. Not Harley. Harley requires that my wife chop up his food and place it on a plate each day. He will turn his nose up to food that my wife leaves whole or large leafy. Tomatoes and cucumbers must cut up, and the cucumbers peeled. Otherwise, he would not touch the items. Picky is not the right word.

My wife takes Harley for a walk now and then around the neighborhood. The neighbors refer to my wife as the turtle lady. All the kids follow her around watching Harley and laughing about him and talking to him. Harley ignores the kids and the other pets, unless the pets enter into his yard. Cats, he doesn’t mind. We raised him with cats. Dogs, he can’t stand and will go after them.

Every 3 or 4 days Harley gets a bath. You would think an African tortoise would not care for the water, but you would be wrong. Harley loves the water. My wife fills a plastic container with warm water and places Harley in the container. As soon as she places Harley in the water, he spreads his legs out, and he lays in the water as low as he can get without his head going under the water. He will lay there for about 30 to 45 minutes. Then he starts moving around indicating he is ready to get out. She removes Harley from the water, dries him off, and Harley is happy for another 3 or 4 days.

My wife built Harley a special home so that when he is ready to sleep, at night, he can crawl inside and be in the dark and away from the environment. If it rains, he can remain dry. When it gets cold heaters come on to keep him warm. The tortoise lives as comfortable a life as we do.

Does anyone have a spoiled pet story that can match this one. I want to hear it. It something were to happen to my wife. I’m not sure who would take care of this spoiled tortoise.